Well said. A great option for budget concerned people is to buy that 10 year old UJM (carefully selected of course - like a well maintained, low mileage '91 750 Nighthawk, lots of them out there) for under $3000.
1) I pay about 200 less a year for insurance for my Electra Glide Ultra Classic than I did for my old Nighthawk.
2) Let's compare apples to apples. Those considering both a Harley and a Japanese standard would likely not be considering a high priced big twin. They would be considering something like a sportster 1200 or 883 -- the latter is less expensive than many small bore metric cruisers. And, contrary to popular belief, is often available at MSRP. The 883 is actually less than a Nighthawk.
3) Customization. Again, compare apples to apples. Most metric cruisers will be customized as well. Often,these parts are comparable in price to those available for Harleys. Metric cruisers do not hold their value as well as Harleys. There may be a few exceptions, but not many.
4) We won't even talk about your financial assumptions that the extra cash would be invested, not spent on other things. Looking at the savings rate for Americans, the money would more than likely be spent on a nicer car or a surround sound system. People like myself choose a crappy car compared to what I could afford to ride the motorcycle of my choosing. In short, if I didn't ride a Harley (10-15,000 miles a year), I would probably not be driving a '95 Dodge Neon. People that don't ride their Harleys and buy them just to have would probably spend the money not spent on a Harley on golf or boats or something else. In that respect, the Harley might be a wiser investment.
5) The loan. Again, most people looking at an 18,000 dollar Harley would probably be comparison shopping with either BMW (also holds value well) or other, more expensive, metric cruisers. They would take out less in loans on the metric cruiser, but the difference in resale would probably balance the loss.
6) I agree with you in theory. It does make more financial sense to buy an inexpensive standard than one of the more expensive Harleys. But as I noted, people considering a Springer Softail are not likely to be satisfied with a Nighthawk. Most people citing resale value do not base their decision purely on that fact. Those that do buy harleys purely as investments are likely to resale them almost instantly with less than 1000 miles on the odometer. These people almost always make money. Those that buy them, spend $2000+ on accessories, ride it 5000 miles over a few years then try to sell it, are probably not using the resale argument as their primary defense for buying the motorcyle. Either that or they are dumb. At the very least, those that buy it "for investment" or not going to keep it for the 10 years you build into your argument.
7) Ride what you like. I ride a Harley. Used to ride a nighthawk. The Harley gives me infinitely more pleasure. If the standard makes you happy, go for it.
I agree SOMEWHAT. First, I pay within $10 difference on the 2 bikes I own. I Own a 1999 Buell X1 Lightning, and a 1990 Kawasaki ex500. The Ex500 is $209 a year and the Buell is $217 a year. I have looked at purchasing several different bikes and have gotten quotes on all the bikes I looked at. (these included; harley night train, gsxr 1000, honda 929, harley 1200 custom) The insurance quotes that I recieved on all these bikes were within a $20 a year varience. Second, purchasing a motorcycle should not be about its resale price. It should be about the riding experience or enjoyment. I didn't know that you could put a price on personal enjoyment? Third, in defense of the harley resale (if resale price sale is a MUST in your purchasing decision!) You are looking at a 10 year spectrum. What happens in 20 to 25 years when these things become antique? I know harleys resale at that point go through the roof! Ever tried to buy an OLD harley, expect on paying out the A**! Just a few personal observations. I own one of each, and have ridden most of the new ones on the market (not the gsxr1000 yet, unfortunatley) And this is what I have encountered.
3) Call dealers in VA (you have a working knowledge of computers -- do a search on the Harley site for VA dealers). Some charge over list, some don't. Some have models on the floor. Waynesboro HD had a Softail at list last week and an Ultra Classic at way over list because it came from the factory with a custom paint job that cost several thousand (through the Harley custom paint plan). That's where I bought my Harley. I waited 4 1/2 months so I could get the color I wanted. Roanoke Valley HD had a Road King, an Ultra and a Dyna SuperGlide on the floor, all at list a few weeks ago. Some of these shops hesitate to sell out of area because they can lose bikes the next year for competing with other dealers. Some hesitate to sell out of area because they have plenty of local demand -- a local rider is more likely to buy accessories and use the service department at their shop. Some dealers are perfectly willing to sell out of area.
4) Most Harley riders have very minor mechanical issues. Though my last Harley -- a '97 only had one glitch with a headset over 30,000 miles. I never used oil. I had two recalls -- that doesn't seem out of line with several other manufacturers. How many recalls on cam-chain tensioners for the 'busa alone? Neither recall on my bike was for an item than could have caused my engine to seize and throw me off the bike.
5) I wear black shirts sometimes. I also occasionally wear a tie when commuting to work on my Harley. I don't own a do-rag. I wear a helmet liner. On the other hand, my dad wears Harley shirts most of the time.
6) My '01 Ultra had one mechanical glitch -- but it was self induced (insufficiently tightened battery cable -- sometimes I can be an idiot). I am so far unimpressed with the key fob for my security system, but it works well enough. I have had one service notice. The dealer called me and scheduled an appointment before I even got the letter from Harley.
7) Not all Harley riders will have this same experience. Not all will have no problems. No two riders of any brand will have identical experiences or have good dealers. My local Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki/Ducati dealer allows no test rides. My Harley dealer has a minimum of two demo models at any time. All you need is a driver's license. In other areas, Harley dealers suck and Honda dealers are good.
8) What Harley rider wants to kick your ass on your superbike? We aren't looking for that kind of ride. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate racing, it means that we don't want to ride a racebike on the street.
9) The attitude works both ways. Some Harley riders are asses. Some are not. Some sport bike riders are asses. Being divisive serves no one.
I was yelled at and flipped off by some teens/young twenties in a car with a 12" harley wings sticker, for doing nothing more than riding past them on my goldwing. "get a real bike!" "get off that jap piece of crap!" "where are your leathers?!" (I wear cordura cold weather gear) "Wanna be!" "Poser!" I giggled (in my helmet) ..the harley sticker was on a Suzuki Swift.
It's all about the image.. or quick judgment I guess.
I wholeheartedly agree that everyone should just ride what they like riding.
The reason I chose to compare a Nighthawk and a big twin is because they have similar horsepower (the Nighthawk might even have a few more horses if both are stock), not because they have similar displacement. They are also "comfortable" seating positions as opposed to "agressive" seating positions. I know they look very different, but--I know I'm in the minority here--I would be happy with a bike that looked like either a Japanese standard or an American twin. Both have an elemental, simple look (before customization, at least) and proudly display their mildly-tuned, air-cooled engine.
I bring up the money issue because it is, unfortunately, important. I can't ride what I REALLY like--an R1150R--because I just plain can't afford it. Thus I'm looking for a bike that's comfortable, fun to ride, but also economical to own.
And, of course, the purpose of this thread was NOT to bash Harley-Davidson. The Sportster 883 is one of the bikes on my "possible next bike to buy" list, though it has significantly lower horsepower than a Japanese 750/4. I'd love to see what they do with the Evo-replacement Sportster engine (which I really want them to get around to releasing). Since I'm working on very limited finances, finding a fun ride that is also economical is very important to me.
I like to buy new because I once bought a bike that had been poorly broken in and thoroughly abused by the former owner, even though it only had 9000 miles and looked like a good buy. After that experience, I much prefer to break bikes in myself.
However, if you can find last-year-leftovers (something that never happens with Harley-Davidsons), take them. You should be able to get at least $1000 off list price for taking a left-over, and its still an unridden bike. With most motorcycles besides sportbikes, the only thing that changes from year to year is the color, so left-overs are a great find.
Well, I'm sure that it makes the all the "Biker Wanabees", like my brother very happy that H-D is again in the red I wish them much success in the future but, H-D will never see any of my money, their bikes don't impress me in the least, infact the "only" bike H-D makes that I'd think about buying is the Buell ST-3 Sport Tourer.
That's only if they get ride of the "out of date" Sportster motor and put in something upgraded like the VR1000 motor. $13,500 will buy some very excellent, dependable and long lasting sport touring bikes from other mfg'ers. H-D know's cruisers but hasn't got a clue when it comes to "sport touring" bikes! The new Sport-T and the Buell ST-3 are purely "2nd. class" machines in that area of motorcycling.
Sigh, so another typical bunch of BS from a Harley riding RUB. Yep I've rode em and you can have em, nothing special about em but since you have money, it's just another toy too bring up you status to your circle of loser friends.
I helped my dad shop around quite a bit for a Road King (Awesome bike), and you can find harley dealers that sell at MSRP, the only problem is that you are on a 1-4 year waiting list. One of the dealers in VA or roundabout there had its next 80 incoming bikes presold. This was about a year ago, and with the cruiser market starting to soften, i dont think it will be a problem too much longer.